Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Monday, December 31, 2018

Tackling Algorithmic-Facilitated Tacit Collusion in a Proportionate Way

Paolo Siciliani, UCL Faculty of Laws; Bank of England is Tackling Algorithmic-Facilitated Tacit Collusion in a Proportionate Way.

ABSTRACT: For the use of price-matching algorithms to facilitate exploitative price coordination the common adoption by all rival online-sellers may be required. At the same time, this common course of conduct may be justified by the need to reduce the risk of being undercut and so being unable to recover fixed costs. Ultimately, antitrust enforcers should rely on established price-cost tests in order to establish when the use of such algorithms is illegitimate. The paper also questions whether e-marketplace platforms should face antitrust scrutiny if retailers use algorithms.

December 31, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Hidden System That Explains How Your Doctor Makes Referrals

The WSJ has an article today on The Hidden System That Explains How Your Doctor Makes Referrals.  This should come as no surprise.  I pointed to this as a reason for hospital acquisition of physician groups a number of years ago:

The economic reality is that in a world of price caps for certain hospital services, firms will attempt to increase the bottom line by increasing the total provision of hospital services. Given anti-steering rules, the best way to increase the total provision of services is through “buying” referrals. As long as the hospital has some unfilled beds, it can increase its total profits by filling them. One way to do this is by using referrals. The difference between the hospital’s charges and the marginal cost of an additional patient will flow to the bottom line as additional profit. This business strategy has the consequence of foreclosing competition by favoring in-network providers over out of network providers.

Hospital Mergers and Economic Efficiency, 91 Washington Law Review 1 (2016) (with Roger Blair and Christine Durrance)

 

December 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Regulating Blockchain: Techno-Social and Legal Challenges - An Introduction

Philipp Hacker, Humboldt University of Berlin; WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Ioannis Lianos, University College London - Faculty of Laws; BRICS Competition Law & Policy Centre - HSE National Research University, Georgios Dimitropoulos, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and Stefan Eich, Princeton Society of Fellows offer Regulating Blockchain: Techno-Social and Legal Challenges - An Introduction.

ABSTRACT: This introductory chapter provides an overview of the main legal and policy implications of blockchain technology. It proceeds in four steps. First, the chapter traces the technical and legal evolution of blockchain applications since the early days of bitcoin, highlighting in particular the political ambitions and tensions that have marked many of these projects from the start. Second, it shows how blockchain applications have created new calculative spaces of financial markets that seek to challenge existing forms of money. Third, it discusses the core points of friction with incumbent legal systems, with a particular focus on the regulability of decentralized systems in general and data protection concerns in particular. Fourth, the chapter provides an outline to the contributions to the volume, which span a wide array of topics at the intersection of blockchain, law, and politics.

December 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Out of Tune or Well Tempered? How Competition Agencies Direct the Orchestrating State

Herman Lelieveldt, University College Roosevelt/Utrecht University asks Out of Tune or Well Tempered? How Competition Agencies Direct the Orchestrating State.

ABSTRACT: This article analyzes the impact competition agencies have on the orchestrating role of states in domestic private regulation. I argue that these agencies can significantly affect interactions in the governance triangle through the way they apply a “logic of the market” to evaluate agreements between firms. The regulatory framework of European Union competition law has increasingly constrained the ability of firms to take into account broader interests when making agreements to foster social objectives. This logic of the market clashes with the ever‐increasing emphasis governments place on enabling firms to enter into such agreements. I analyze this tension through a case study of a pact of Dutch retailers to collectively introduce higher animal welfare standards for poultry. Using regulatory network analysis I trace the governance interactions between the governance triangle on the one hand (government, non‐governmental organizations, and firms), and the Dutch competition authority, Autoriteit Consument en Markt (ACM) and the European Commission on the other hand. Attempts by the Dutch government to instruct the ACM to be more lenient toward private regulation were blocked twice by the European Commission. As a result, the Dutch government abandoned private regulation as the preferred mode and proposed a bottom‐up process that would generate public regulation as a way to avoid conflict with competition policy. I argue that paradoxically enough the intervention of these non‐majoritarian competition agencies against the “will” of the governance triangle has potentially increased the effectiveness and legitimacy of orchestration processes.

December 27, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Quality Regulation and Competition: Evidence from Pharmaceutical Markets

Juan Pablo Atal, University of Pennsylvania, José Ignacio Cuesta, Department of Economics, University of Chicago, Morten Sæthre, Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) examine Quality Regulation and Competition: Evidence from Pharmaceutical Markets.

ABSTRACT: We study the effects of quality regulation on market outcomes by exploiting the staggered phase-in of bioequivalence requirements for generic drugs in Chile. We estimate that the number of drugs in the market decreased by 25%, average paid prices increased by 10%, and total sales decreased by 20%. These adverse effects were concentrated among small markets. Our results suggest that the intended effects of quality regulation on price competition through increased (perceived) quality of generics—and therefore reduced vertical differentiation—were overturned by adverse competitive effects arising from the costs of complying with the regulation.

December 26, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Internal versus External Growth in Industries with Scale Economies: A Computational Model of Optimal Merger Policy

Ben Mermelstein; Volker Nocke; Mark A. Satterthwaite; and Michael D. Whinston have an interesting paper on Internal versus External Growth in Industries with Scale Economies: A Computational Model of Optimal Merger Policy.

ABSTRACT:We study optimal merger policy in a dynamic model in which the presence of scale economies implies that firms can reduce costs through either internal investment in building capital or through mergers. The model, which we solve computationally, allows firms to invest or propose mergers according to the relative profitability of these strategies. An antitrust authority is able to block mergers at some cost. We examine the optimal policy for an antitrust authority who cannot commit to its future policy rule and approves or rejects mergers as they are proposed, considering both consumer value and aggregate value as its possible objectives. We find that the optimal policy can differ substantially from what would be best considering only welfare in the period the merger is proposed. In general, antitrust policy can greatly affect firms' optimal investment behavior, and firms' investment behavior can in turn greatly affect the antitrust authority's optimal policy. Moreover, externalities imposed by mergers on rivals can have significant effects on firms' investment incentives and thereby shape the optimal policy.

December 25, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

České dráhy, a.s. v European Commission: legality of Commission’s dawn raid

Emily Xueref-Poviac describes České dráhy, a.s. v European Commission: legality of Commission’s dawn raid.

ABSTRACT: Judgments of 20 June 2018, České dráhy v Commission (T‑325/16, EU:T:2018:368), and České dráhy v Commission (T‑621/16, not published, EU:T:2018:367)

In two judgments reviewing the legality of dawn raid decisions adopted by the European Commission against the Czech national railway company, the General Court highlighted the Commission’s powers during investigations.

České dráhy is the Czech state-owned railway operator, active in markets for (i) the supply of passenger transport services and (ii) the provision of railway infrastructure management in the Czech Republic.

In 2016, the Commission adopted two decisions (Cases AT.40156 Falcon and AT.40401 Twins) ordering České dráhy to submit to unannounced inspections under Article 20(4) of Regulation 1/2003.

December 25, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 24, 2018

Call for Papers: ABA Antitrust Section paper on the interface of Antitrust with IP (prize money and free trip to ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting)

ABA Section of Antitrust Law

Intellectual Property Committee

2018-19 Law Student Essay Contest

 

Calling all third-year law students with an interest in antitrust and intellectual property law!  The American Bar Association (“ABA”) Section of Antitrust Law (“Section”) Intellectual Property Committee (“Committee”) is hosting a student essay writing contest (“Contest”) for 2018-2019. Each contestant must follow the Official Rules and Additional Rules of the competition detailed herein.

 

Official Rules

 

  • Who: Eligible contestants include third-year (full-time or part-time) law students expecting to receive their J.D. at the end of the 2019 academic year.  Eligibility to participate in this Contest or to win prizes is limited to an individual who at the time of entry is:

o     at least 18 years of age;

o     a legal resident of the United States; and

o     a student who is enrolled in a law school that is ABA-accredited, in each case, at the time of submission.

  • Contestant need not be a member of the ABA or the Section.
  • Limit 1 entry and prize per contestant.
  • Employees, officers, directors, contractors, agents and representatives of the ABA and their immediate families and household members are ineligible to enter the Contest.
  • The ABA’s determination of eligibility, in its sole discretion, is final.

 

  • What:  Participants are required to submit an essay a current issue of interest with implications for antitrust and intellectual property law.
  • Entry form and essay should be submitted to sokold@law.ufl.edu.
  • The ABA is not responsible for errors or for lost, late, or misdirected email, or telecommunication or hardware or software failures, including by reason of any bug or computer virus or other failure.
  • Essays must be:

o     the original work of the entrant;

o     in the English language;

o     written during 2018-2019 or the current academic year;

o     submitted in electronic format (Word or .pdf);

o     no less than 2500 words and no more than 4000 words including footnotes, with 12-point font and 1-inch margins; and

o     specifically written for this Contest; a law school class, seminar, or independent study; or a law review or journal note, comment, or article.

  • All entries are final. No revisions are accepted.
  • Please note: Entries that do not meet these requirements will be disqualified.

 

  • When:  The ABA will accept entries via email through midnight (CST) February 28, 2019, and will not consider any entry received after the due date and time. The winning essay—chosen by the Committee leadership—will be announced in March 2019.
  • The leadership of the Committee will judge all essays. The decision of the judges is final.
  • The winner will be notified by email. The winner must acknowledge and confirm agreement to the terms and conditions of winning the Contest no later than March 15, 2019. If a prize winner: (i) cannot be located (e.g., an email notification or prize is returned as undeliverable, or does not respond to an award email notification by [February 7, 2018]; (ii) is found to be ineligible (as determined solely by the ABA); or (iii) fails to execute an affidavit or other documentation as required by the ABA, the ABA may consider such prize winner to have forfeited the prize, and may, at its sole option, award the prize to another contestant.
  • The ABA reserves the right not to award any prize(s) if, in the ABA’s sole judgment (based upon the Committee’s recommendation), the quality of submitted entries does not merit award(s) or publication.

 

  • Why:  The winner will receive a cash scholarship of $2,500, plus free attendance (and travel expenses up to $1,500) to the ABA Antitrust Law Section’s 2018 Spring Meeting in Washington, D.C.  In addition, the top essay, along with a biography of the winning student, will be published in an ABA publication.
  • The Sponsors may substitute a prize of equal or greater value in its sole discretion. Prizes are non-transferable and cannot be substituted by the winner. Cash equivalent for prizes is not available. The ABA makes no warranties with regard to the prizes.
  • Winners will be solely responsible for reporting and payment of all taxes (federal, state, local or other) on prizes, which will include the value of any accommodations and airfare. Winners will be required to complete an IRS Form W-9, affidavit of eligibility, tax acknowledgment, publicity release (except where prohibited) and liability waiver. All forms must be completed and returned to the Section within 5 business days of receipt and prior to the delivery of any prize, or prizes will be considered forfeited and another winner may be named. 

 

Take advantage of this contest to get some cash in your pocket, network with your colleagues in the Antitrust Bar, and get your work published in a major ABA publication!  For more information, including how to apply, please review the additional rules below. Best of luck!

 

Applicants should send  questions to Tiffany M. Goldston, Program Specialist, American Bar Association, Section of Antitrust Law, via email at Tiffany.Goldston@americanbar.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Rules

 

  • Odds of Winning: Chances of winning may vary depending on the number of entries. However, Sponsor reserves the right not to award any prize if the judges determine that no entries are of sufficient quality to merit selection that year.

 

  • Announcement and Notification of Winner: On or before [_____________], after the Section has notified the prize winner, it will post the name of the winner on its website at [Insert Link].

 

  • License/Grant of Rights:
    • By entering, the winning entrant consents to the publication of her/his entry by the ABA, understands that such publication is not guaranteed and is at the sole discretion of the ABA, and grants the ABA the following rights: (i) the exclusive worldwide right of first publication of their entry in any and all ABA media or form of communication; (ii) the non-exclusive worldwide right, in ABA’s sole discretion, to use, transcribe, publish, reproduce, distribute, sell (as part of an ABA publication) or display the entry, alone or in conjunction with other materials; (iii) the right to edit the essay to conform to the publication’s standards of style, technological requirements, language, grammar and punctuation, provided the meaning of the essay is not materially altered; and (iv) the non-exclusive worldwide right to use the winner’s name and likeness in connection with the essay or this Contest, in each case, without further compensation.
    • The winning entrant must execute a separate publication agreement giving the ABA the publication rights enumerated above and the right to use the article for any other purpose related to the ABA mission.
    • If the winner fails to sign the agreement within 5 days of receipt, the prize will be considered forfeited and another winner may be named.
    • By entering this Contest, contestant represents that his/her essay is original content.

 

  • Conditions of Participation: By participating, each entrant agrees to these Official Rules and the decisions of the Sponsor and releases and discharges the Sponsor, including but not limited to the ABA, the Section, any subsidiary and affiliated entities, and each of their respective officers, directors, members, employees, independent contractors, agents, representatives, successors and assigns (collectively “Released Parties”) from any and all liability whatsoever in connection with this Contest, including, without limitation, legal claims, costs, injuries, losses or damages, demands or actions of any kind (including, without limitation, personal injuries, death, damage to, loss or destruction of property, rights of publicity or privacy, defamation, or portrayal in a false light) (collectively “Claims”). Except where prohibited, acceptance of a prize constitutes a release by any winner of the Released Parties of any and all Claims in connection with the administration of this Contest and the use, misuse or possession of any prize. All entries submitted to the ABA become the property of the ABA and will not be returned; however, entrants who do not win may submit their entries for publication elsewhere. All expenses involved in preparing and submitting an entry are the sole responsibility of the entrant. Sponsor is not responsible for errors or for lost, late, or misdirected mail or email, or telecommunication or hardware or software failures, including by reason of any bug or computer virus or other failure. Sponsor may cancel, modify or terminate the Contest if it is not capable of completion as planned, including by reason of infection by computer virus, tampering, unauthorized intervention, force majeure or technical difficulties of any kind.

 

  • Laws and Regulations: This Contest is governed by U.S. law and all relevant federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. By entering, all participants agree that the Contest shall be governed by the laws of the State of Illinois, that the courts of Illinois shall have exclusive jurisdiction, and that Cook County, Illinois shall be the venue for any dispute or litigation relating to or arising from the Contest. Void where prohibited by law.

 

  • Opt-Out Option: Any individual may elect to opt out of receiving future Contest mailings from the ABA by calling the ABA Service Center at 800-285-2221.

 

 

  • Sponsor: The Contest is sponsored by the American Bar Association through its Section of Antitrust Law.

 

American Bar Association

Section of Antitrust Law

321 N. Clark Street

Chicago, IL  60654-7598

 

December 24, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Transparency Against Market Power

Felix Montag, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich - Munich Graduate School of Economics (MGSE) and Christoph Winter, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich - Munich Graduate School of Economics (MGSE) suggest Transparency Against Market Power.

ABSTRACT: Mandatory price disclosure can reduce market power from informational frictions. Economic theory suggests, however, that such measures can also harm consumers, because it might facilitate collusion. To better understand this relationship, we build a theoretical search model with collusion and imperfectly informed consumers and producers and identify under which circumstances increasing price transparency benefits consumers. We then use a novel and unique data set to study how mandatory price disclosure in the German petrol market affected retail margins. We find that this policy led to a decrease in retail margins by about 25%. This effect is robust to different identification strategies and persistent over time. Finally, we identify heterogeneities in the treatment effect and deduce under what conditions policy-makers should consider mandating price disclosure.

December 24, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Blockchain (R)evolution and the Role of Antitrust

Renato Nazzini, King's College London – The Dickson Poon School of Law discusses The Blockchain (R)evolution and the Role of Antitrust.

ABSTRACT: Blockchain is a technology that enables a secure, transparent, distributed, permanent, robust ledger that can be used to transact and record transactions over the internet. This article explores the role that antitrust can play in the blockchain environment. It examines the antitrust issues that may arise in the phase of development of blockchain projects, especially by joint ventures and consortia involved in R&D and standardisation projects. It them looks at problems that may arise when blockchains are fully operational, discussing whether denial of access to a private blockchain can be anti-competitive and, if so, in what circumstances and whether blockchain can facilitate collusion or even cartel-like behaviour. The role of antitrust is to ensure that the process of development and adoption of this new technology and its applications are driven by market forces and competition on the merits and not by restrictive behaviour aimed at excluding efficient undertakings from the competitive process. It is also to ensure that the new technology is not used to anticompetitive ends by enabling or facilitating collusive conduct or allowing individual firms to preserve or strengthen their market power to the detriment of competitors and consumers and, ultimately, of the society as a whole. To this end, classic antitrust analysis must itself evolve and develop a stronger focus on dynamic competition, market effects, and efficiencies than has traditionally been the case, especially in the European Union.

December 24, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Why grading exams is the worst part of being an academic

I think of all of the terrible things that can be worse than grading papers (leaving politics around the world out of the equation):

  1. Watching the John Boorman directed Sean Connery movie Zardoz - even the trailer is unwatchable. I cannot believe that this movie ever got green-lighted and distributed.  This is 1 hour and 45 minutes of my life that I wasted.

  2. Drinking Starbucks Juniper Latte - imagine boiling pine needles and adding coffee and milk.
  3. Sitting through a faculty meeting where the meeting is hijacked by faculty who want to make a point of wasting everyone's time for the sake of wasting everyone's time - faculty involvement in faculty meetings is inversely proportional to the amount of productivity of the faculty member.  Those faculty members that are secretly Fortnite gamers, since they don't publish and are never around for students, take up most of the time at faculty meetings.

Ok, I guess I can think about three things worse than grading.  Grading papers is the only part of the academic enterprise where I feel like I earn my money.  The rest (scholarship and teaching) I would gladly do for free.

December 23, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, December 21, 2018

Balancing Consumer Welfare and Public Interest in Competition Law

Ma. Joy V. Abrenica, University of the Philippines, Diliman - School of Economics is Balancing Consumer Welfare and Public Interest in Competition Law.

ABSTRACT: When competition law is used to promote public interest, certain restrictive conduct may be immunized, while some pro-competitive behavior suppressed. This paper discusses the risks to market competition, institutions and consumer welfare of accommodating public interest concerns in competition enforcement. Promoting public interest may paradoxically lead to lower social welfare as market competition is weakened and incentives are distorted. A case is made to ring fence competition regime from public interest regime; to limit public interest considerations to the highest societal objectives that could only be pursued outside the market system; and to intervene in behalf of public interest in a transparent and systematic process.

December 21, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Procedural Fairness in Competition Law: A Comparative Perspective, Thursday 10 January 2019 18:00 – 19:30 GMT, Centre of European Law, The Dickson Poon School of Law

Centre of European Law
The Dickson Poon School of Law
Public Seminar

 

Thursday 10 January 2019

18:00 – 19:30 GMT

Procedural Fairness in Competition Law: A Comparative Perspective

Panel:

Roger P Alford, International Deputy Assistant Attorney General, US Department of Justice (Antitrust Division)

Sarah Cardell, General Counsel, Competition and Markets Authority

Michele Davis, Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer 

D Daniel Sokol, Professor of Law, University of Florida

The panel will discuss issues of procedural fairness in Competition Law Investigations and international initiatives to develop fair and clear procedures governing the rights and limitations of affected and interested parties.

 

Professor William Kovacic, Visiting Professor of Law, King's College London & Professor of Law, George Washington University in the Chair

18.00 -19.30

Edmond Safra Lecture Theatre

King's College London, Strand Campus

Strand, London

WC2R 2LS

The seminar will be followed by a drinks reception





To reserve a place for this event click here

December 20, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Essential Principles for the Design of Antitrust Analysis for Multisided Platforms

David S. Evans, Global Economics Group; University College London offers Essential Principles for the Design of Antitrust Analysis for Multisided Platforms.

ABSTRACT: This paper presents some basic principles for conducting the antitrust analysis of multi-sided platforms in light of the economic learning that courts could adapt to the particulars of their jurisdictions and case laws. It has a particular focus on measuring consumer surplus for platform businesses and the implications of that for the design of sound antitrust rules. It shows how multi-sided platforms increase welfare by reducing transactions costs and resolving externalities among economic agents. Its presents normative principles for policy interventions the first of which involves considering the joint surplus for both group of customers shows how these principles apply to recent debates over privacy. The paper then develops a framework for considering antitrust rules in light of these principles given the objectives of antitrust law, error costs, and developing administrable rules. It lastly considers the competing approaches to analyzing multi-sided platforms that were presented to the Supreme Court in the American Express litigation and the court’s decision.

December 20, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

European antitrust enforcers punish success

Sean heather, US Chamber has an op-ed on how European antitrust enforcers punish success.

December 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Governance of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence : Economic, Legal and Political Perspectives 6-7 June 2019, Tilburg, The Netherlands

A joint TILEC – GovReg Workshop on:

Governance of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence:

Economic, Legal and Political Perspectives

TILEC 15TILEC – GovReg Workshop Fondation Dauphine Paris logoTILEC – GovReg Workshop Dauphine Paris logo

6-7 June 2019, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) and the Governance and Regulation Chair (GovReg) at University Paris-Dauphine | PSL Research University are pleased to announce the 5th Governance workshop

 

Scientific background and goal of the workshop

Datafication has massively influenced processes within organizations, on markets, and more generally throughout society. Machine learning pushes the loop between data accumulation and innovation even further. After four economic governance workshops that focused on the role of competition (in 2010), organizations (in 2013), social preferences (in 2015), and data-driven markets (in 2017), respectively, we now strive to stimulate the debate about the economic, political, legal, and social effects of big data and artificial intelligence.

As a case of special focus, algorithm-driven platforms such as social media, search engines, and news aggregators have become dominant players in news dissemination.

This has transformed the media sector and the way we think about democratic political elections and the legitimacy of those elections’ outcomes, with yet unknown consequences for our political systems  and for many markets that are tipping towards the technological leader.

These developments challenge our rules of the game: are Western institutions, formal and informal, set up appropriately to ensure fair competition among firms, innovators, politicians, or political parties? What does it mean for competition law, privacy and data access laws, international treaties, election commissions’ procedures, and the codes of conduct on online platforms if most of us can be traced and monitored most of the time – but these masses of data can only be accessed, worked with, and potentially be manipulated by a few parties? Are we heading towards a future with virtually unbounded opportunities and progress for humanity – or towards a setting, where the state or large private actors control every aspect of life and the net profits of global technological progress are enjoyed by very few very rich and influential individuals?

Combining approaches from (institutional) economics, political science, and law, the goal of this workshop is threefold:

  1. What problems are specific to data-driven markets? What is the theory of harm, that is, what are the problems limiting optimal solutions? What are the underlying mechanisms that lead to the potential harm identified? A special focus of this workshop is the impact of big data and AI on politics, both in democracies and in autocracies.
  2. In sectors where a theory of harm can be carved out, is there a need for intervention in political landscapes, markets, or even international relations? What kind of interventions might solve or mitigate the problems identified? Or is it best to leave innovation infrastructures untouched, even if market failures and election rigging were identified, and rely on competitive forces to solve the problems?
  3. If intervention is needed in one sector, what is the best way of intervention to tackle which problem? How should data-driven political systems or markets be governed? By national or supranational regulation (public ordering)? Or by self-governance of citizens or industry-participants in some form (private ordering)? Should behavior be monitored by private associations or public-private partnerships? What are critical elements for the corporate governance structure of monitoring or regulatory bodies?

The Governance and Regulation Chair at the University Paris-Dauphine | PSL (GovReg) and the Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) are joining forces for a two-day workshop to discuss topics related to these goals.

December 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A Contribution to ‘Shaping Competition Policy in the Era of Digitisation’

Pablo Ibáñez Colomo, London School of Economics - Law Department offers A Contribution to ‘Shaping Competition Policy in the Era of Digitisation’.

ABSTRACT: This paper presents some basic principles for conducting the antitrust analysis of multi-sided platforms in light of the economic learning that courts could adapt to the particulars of their jurisdictions and case laws. It has a particular focus on measuring consumer surplus for platform businesses and the implications of that for the design of sound antitrust rules. It shows how multi-sided platforms increase welfare by reducing transactions costs and resolving externalities among economic agents. Its presents normative principles for policy interventions the first of which involves considering the joint surplus for both group of customers shows how these principles apply to recent debates over privacy. The paper then develops a framework for considering antitrust rules in light of these principles given the objectives of antitrust law, error costs, and developing administrable rules. It lastly considers the competing approaches to analyzing multi-sided platforms that were presented to the Supreme Court in the American Express litigation and the court’s decision.

December 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

SAVE THE DATE CCP 15th Annual Conference 6 - 7 June 2019, London Machine Learning & AI as Business Tools Threat or blessing for competition?


SAVE THE DATE
CCP 15th  Annual Conference 

 

6 - 7 June 2019, London

 

Machine Learning & AI as Business Tools

Threat or blessing for competition?

 

The power of modern computing including Machine Learning and AI represents a transformation in technology with potentially profound impact on the market place. Such disruptive innovation has the potential to fundamentally increase competition in all sectors of the economy. But there are also considerable concerns that exactly the same forces might allow greater exploitation of consumers by facilitating and even automating anticompetitive behaviour and preying on consumers by taking advantage of limited attention, information processing, and boundedly rational behaviour. In this context there is a pressing need for a better understanding of how competition is likely to evolve, how compliance with competition law can be ensured and how to think about long term impacts and responses to having a small number of powerful players.

This conference will touch on themes like algorithmic pricing and competition, targeted advertising and consumer protection, as well as the use of algorithms and AI to enhance the position of the consumer in the market. In addition it will explore algorithms and AI as tools for the enforcement and for academic research and their potential role in improving how we monitor and evaluate markets. The conference is organised at the interface of social and computer sciences to bring insights from both disciplines to understanding the potential threats and blessings that AI might imply for competition.

December 18, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Attention Platforms, the Value of Content, and Public Policy

David S. Evans, Global Economics Group; University College London analyzes Attention Platforms, the Value of Content, and Public Policy.

ABSTRACT: This paper shows that two related aspects of attention platforms are important for the sound economic analysis of public policy including antitrust. First, attention platforms generate valuable content. Even though people often don’t pay for content we know by revealed preference that content is valuable because people spend a considerable amount of time, which has an opportunity cost, consuming it. Second, there are pecuniary interdependencies between the demand for advertising and the supply of content. A decrease in the demand for advertising reduces the returns to supplying content and therefore the amount of content provided. Accounting for the value of content and these positive feedbacks cannot determine optimal interventions but failing to do so can result in policies that reduce consumer, as well as advertiser, welfare. The paper then considers the implications of these considerations for public policy, particularly privacy regulation and antitrust enforcement. From the standpoint of promoting consumer welfare, failure to account for the value of content and the pecuniary interdependencies increases the chances that authorities do not intervene when they should and do intervene when they should not.

December 18, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 17, 2018

14th ASCOLA Conference CHALLENGES TO THE ASSUMPTIONS AT THE BASIS OF COMPETITION LAW + WORKSHOP ON COMPETITION LAW ISSUES Aix en Provence, France June 27 to June 29, 2019 CALL FOR PAPERS

 

14th ASCOLA Conference

 

CHALLENGES TO THE ASSUMPTIONS AT THE

BASIS OF COMPETITION LAW

 

+ WORKSHOP on Competition Law Issues

 

Aix en Provence, France

 

June 27 to June 29, 2019

 

CALL FOR PAPERS

 

The Academic Society for Competition Law (ASCOLA) will hold its 14th annual conference from Thursday June 27 to Saturday June 29, 2019 at the University of Aix en Provence, in Aix en Provence, France.

Main Topic

 

“Challenges to the Assumptions at the Basis of competition Law”

 

Competition law is based on certain assumptions. These relate, inter alia to:

 

  • The goals of competition law and how they can be achieved;
  • How markets operate (including the effects of certain types of conduct and/or technologies on market performance);
  • The correct balance between risks and benefits of certain market actions or technological changes;
  • The institutional structure that best serves competition law enforcement;
  • Burdens of proof, and economic and legal presumptions that best serve its goals;
  • The interaction of competition law with other legal or regulatory spheres, and how they affect overall social welfare.

 

Social, economic and technological changes have challenged some of these assumptions, as well as   and/or additional ones on which competition law is based. Accordingly, at the 14th ASCOLA conference, we would like to reflect systematically and critically on these assumptions. The conference topic is not limited to any specific jurisdiction, but aims to promote a discussion on the evolution of such assumptions throughout the world. The papers should preferably facilitate a discussion with regard to (relatively) similar problems encountered worldwide.  

 

Parallel Sessions

 

As in previous years, part of the conference will take place in the form of parallel sessions. These sessions allow interested scholars to present their most recent research on any topic related to competition law (including jurisdiction-specific topics). Thus, submissions do not have to relate to the themes of the conference.

 

The papers for the parallel sessions will undergo the same evaluation process applicable to papers relating to the conference’s general theme.

 

Submission of Papers

 

ASCOLA members are invited to submit DRAFT PAPERS or EXTENDED ABSTRACTS (minimum of 8 pages) no later than January 15, 2019. Authors will be informed by March 15, 2019, by the latest, whether they have been selected for the conference. The papers will be evaluated by an Evaluation Committee, and each paper will be evaluated by two independent evaluators who will be asked to evaluate seven different parameters. To ensure as fair process as possible, the only ones who see the scores are the conference organizers. Non-members can submit papers, and take advantage of that opportunity to apply for membership.

 

Submissions shuld be sent to ascola.2019@gmail.com.

 

Those submitting also to the Best Junior Paper award should indicate this fact at the time of submission.

 

Authors of selected papers will then have until May 20, 2019 to submit their papers for the conference. The organisers retain the right to exclude a paper that does not meet the quality requirements set for the conference.

 

Venue for publication of the conference papers

 

Provided their authors agree, the papers will be published on the conference website.

 

In addition, the authors of the selected papers relating to the topic of the conference will have a choice to submit their papers to a special issue of the Journal of Antitrust Enforcement, potentially dedicated to ASCOLA’s papers. Papers submitted to the journal will undergo a double-blind review. ASCOLA may also decide to publish book collection, should a sifficient number of authors express interest in this option. The editors of each venue might need to make a selection based on quality, should either publication be more popular than the number of papers that can be published therein.

 

Costs

 

Speakers are expected to cover their costs for travel and hotel expenses but ASCOLA will provide scholarships, depending on available funds, to those who cannot finance their participation otherwise, in line with the Guidelines for Financial Aid set by its  Scholarship Committee. Decisions on scholarships will be taken by a Scholarship Committee. Scholarships will mainly be granted to those presenting in the general sessions, on the topic of the conference.

 

Awards

 

Two awards will potentially be given during the conference.

- A Best Junior Paper Award will be given for the best contribution among those submitted by authors not older than 35 years. In order to be eligible for this award, scholars should specifically state their date of birth at the time of submission.

- An Award for Distinguished Services to ASCOLA will be given to one or several ASCOLA members who have made a substantial contribution to the development of the association.

 

 

ASCOLA- THE place to showcase competition law scholarship!

December 17, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)